Why your content should get better with age, not decay
I have a lot of hobbies, and recently I’ve taken an interest in cheese. As odd as it might sound, the idea of food getting better with age is almost counterintuitive. In the right environment, a mediocre cheese will age to perfection, while in other conditions it might become moldy and undesirable.
Content creation is, in many ways, very similar to cheese. Fresh content is attractive, and can go viral in a short period of time. Older content can become stale, either by losing its relevance or by getting lost in the fray. Like cheese, however, handling older content correctly can enable it to make a huge impact on your marketing efforts including improving your SEO, time spent on site, and overall visitor experience.
The idea of considering both fresh and older content in your marketing efforts falls into the idea of marketing segments: acquisition, inbound, and evergreen.
Probably the most popular amongst the three, this type of marketing refers to pieces that aim to attract users to your site, simply put. The content is most likely easy to share, and hence has the ability to go viral on social platforms.
Example: “The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship”
Body: Dives into the lows of entrepreneurship including failure and burnout. Little focus on the product but drives a lot of traffic.
There will be a portion of your visitors that visit your site organically, either through a search result or via another referring site. These visitors are typically more engaged as they have a specific idea of what they’re looking for in your content. The content is likely more in-depth, and geared towards those that aren’t already familiar with your product.
Body: Breaks down the steps to validating an e-commerce business, and how to do it on Shopify. The call-to-action is signing up for a free trial.
After creating content for a while, you will have developed a dedicated following, either through consistent visitors or potentially through an email newsletter. These users are evidently familiar with your product and content, but their engagement will decrease over time. For a business, their customers or cold leads typically fall into this category. The content, therefore, is designed to re-engage users by bridging the gap between your product and their interests.
Body: Highlights how 2 Chainz became successful on the platform, and touches on the functionality and use of the product. Could be sent to customer/user segments depending on their engagement.
Building a Content Strategy
Like a cheese platter, you need to understand how your content pieces fit together, and how that defines your content strategy. Simply attempting to write viral pieces will lead to a lack of cohesion in your content, and probably be reflected through a high bounce rate (users leaving your site on that page) along with a low time spent on site. As a business, it also makes it challenging to get users to convert to buying your product, as they all have low engagement.
Once you have written a few pieces of content, check your stats and see how each piece is performing, and what their focus is. I.e. if you are a food blogger, and your first few pieces are on restaurant reviews, it’s possible that a piece on Mexican food performs especially well. You could focus your next few pieces of content on more Mexican restaurants, then create a “Top 5” post that is easily sharable, and links back to your other pieces of content.
The “Top 5” post will get a high amount of traffic, and a number of users will follow the backlinks in your post to other pieces of content about Mexican food on your site. This increases their engagement, and increases the possibility of them reaching your conversion goal, i.e. signing up for a newsletter.
Good for Business
I’ve already gone over an example of how personal bloggers can incorporate this strategy, but let’s take a look at another use case, this being for businesses.
Start by reviewing the content you’ve already published, and categorize it based on how it relates to your product. I.e. a restaurant marketing software company might categorize its content into segments such as “Case Studies”, “Industry Information”, and “Product Features”.
Once you understand the basic focus of each of your pieces of content, try to further group them based on their role in your customer funnel. I.e. an industry report might be top of funnel content, meant to attract leads by giving them insights on the industry while collecting email addresses. Case studies on the other hand may be grouped as bottom of funnel content, meant to be used when leads are already in a conversion with a sales rep and need to be nurtured to speed up the sales cycle. I write more about email nurture campaigns in sales in this post.
The next step is very similar to that of a personal blogger, where you review the performance of these posts. If you haven’t already, you should set up goals in Google Analytics to see how well each of your posts convert. Looking at both how your content fits into your customer funnel and how well each of them is converting will give you direction on what to focus on creating. I’ve added a photo below of how content works in relation to a customer funnel for a typical business-to-business (B2B) Software as a Service (SaaS) company.
For example, if you have a lot of case studies that convert poorly, it might be a good idea to syndicate them, add some additional information on the industry, and create an e-book on how companies can adapt to the changing dynamics of the industry to stay competitive. This may become an amazing source for new leads opposed to being part of nurture campaign, and isn’t hard to do since you already have the posts created.
Crafting a content strategy that values and incorporates both fresh and older content is a sure-fire way to increase user engagement. Though it may take some time to see the results of your efforts, investing the time now will ensure your site and product reflects a cohesive brand and reduce the volatility of your customer funnel.